Chinese architecture studio X+Living has recently completed the design of the latest Zhongshuge Bookstore opened in China, this time in Ningbo. For all of its stores for Zhongshuge, X+Living has drawn its inspiration from the culture, history and geography of each specific location. The goal is to create a local, indoor oasis that is a reflection of what is outside.
In its design concept for the Ningbo Zhongshuge bookstore, X+Living drew inspiration from the history of the city but also from its location between the ocean and the low mountains.
Walking close to Zhongshuge, you will see that the symbolic glass curtain wall is embedded in the thick stone facade. The concise base sends forth power and the charms of the bookstore is quietly displaced.
Two or three chairs lean against the wall, extending to the cafe. Walking through the huge glass door, you will see a different space, the light-color and fine grid book wall comes into view. Sofa chairs and private leisure seats are scattered among them. The warm and white light in front of the sofa seat quietly decorates, enlightening the readers in this elegant space. It seems that people and books have become more fresh and vivid among the atmosphere.
The other side of the facade glass is really another grand view. The walnut color and black walnut color bookshelves stand overlap with each other, forming a masterpiece like towering rocks long washed by running water. The designer integrates the rock texture drawing onto the bookshelves, adding more force and exquisiteness to the view and creating a charming landmark. The bookshelves are arranged in high and low order while the ceiling cabinets scattered, providing an interesting picture and more fun of exploration visually. The ingenious composition seems instantly folds readers into giant landscape paintings, presenting the visual aesthetics of blending design and nature, and displaying the unrepeatable cultural heritage.
A ladder emerges from the tranquility and if you walk up to the second floor, you will find that the landscape of the conceptual area extends from the first floor to here. The multi-dimensional stacking of large bookshelves not only aims to create the artistry of the whole space, but also reflects the designer’s careful thinking on the shape and functions of the bookshelves. In view of the lower storey height of the second floor, the mirror features of Zhongshuge work again. The effect of reflection and inversion broadens the visual experience of the limited space. With the sight line going down, different blocks can be seen endowed with different functional attributes. On one hand, the bookshelves are used to display book. On the other hand, they are integrated into the storage cabinets. Those at lower level are used as seats set up against the steps. Under the warm light, the elegant and quiet reading atmosphere is set off, which perfectly condenses the readers’ concentration. It is under this special atmosphere that the value of people’s time increase, and the operation of the bookstore is also revitalized.
Considering the vertical height of the cultural and creative area, the designer creates a double lecture hall that is “high in the middle, low on both sides”. The high spot of the hall provides a bird’s-eye view of the whole space while book walls standing at both ends, which effectively satisfies different demands of readers and maximizes the space utilization rate and practicability.
In the cafe on the second floor, bookshelves are arranged in an orderly manner. What’s new is that the shelves are built with “windows” in-between for readers. The partition provides privacy while not wasting the space. Instead, the space layout is optimized. Under the mirror ceiling, the storey height is visually doubled, and the virtual and real extension of windows, people and books in the scene is all captured in the frame view. In the leisure time, the sight floats to the distant through the window and settles between the bookshelves and the window. It seems that people are appreciating the scenery and the scenery is staring at people too.
The clean and simple reference books area provides a temple-like space. The facade wall of arch shape extends to the corner of the conference room on both sides. The retro European style sublimates the reading experience and ritual feeling to the extreme.
The children-style composition depicts the aesthetic feeling of children’s library. The reading table inspired from rattle drum skillfully combines with the desk to add a touch of interest. The stepping-up ladder and wall partition also provide more seats. Music scores along with the zither and Pipa-shaped bookshelves presents symbols of etiquette inheritance, all of which originate from the designer’s rich feelings towards traditional culture, aiming to form an ideal growth environment for children.
If the existence of bookstores is to prove its significance, Ningbo Zhongshuge, as a cultural and creative space full of aesthetic creativity, has activated the cultural vitality of the city.